Caution urged with metallic balloons to prevent power outages
Maui Electric Co. is urging high school graduates and their well-wishers to hold on to metallic balloons and refrain from setting off “confetti cannons” near power lines or other utility equipment.
Objects such as metallic balloons can come in contact with power lines and trigger outages, the utility said.
The graduation season is in May and June. Maui High School’s graduation is the first this year, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at War Memorial Stadium.
Last year in Honolulu, Hawaiian Electric crews responded to an outage caused by metallic streamers from a confetti cannon that landed on a transformer. So far this year, eight balloon-related outages have happened on Oahu. And, on Jan. 25, about 250 customers in the Waiehu area lost power briefly when a metallic balloon touched a power line.
In 2017, there were two metallic balloon/streamer outages in Maui County, down from three such incidents in 2016.
Metallic balloons and streamers can cause a short circuit and knock out power to an entire neighborhood.
The utility’s safety tips include: making sure a balloon is tightly secured to a string or ribbon; adding a weight to the string to anchor the balloon; never releasing balloons into the sky or shooting anything at power lines or near utility equipment; and deflating balloons after use.
People also should not try to free a metallic balloon that’s in contact with a power line.
To report problems, call 871-7777 on Maui or (877) 871-8461 on Molokai and Lanai.